Volkswagen partners with Uber to launch EV pilot
Through Volkswagen’s e-Golf, Uber now has a locally zero-emission alternative from the Volkswagen model portfolio available in Berlin. The main aim of the pilot project is to use a range of year-old e-Golf vehicles which could run into three digits. Volkwagen has already been leveraging the e-Golf successfully for its own car sharing service We Share since 2018.
Holger B. Santel, Head of Sales and Marketing Germany for the Volkswagen Passenger Car brand, commented: “Through our cooperation with Uber, we’re helping improve air quality in urban areas through locally carbon-neutral electric vehicles. In addition, with the demanding continuous operation of battery-electric vehicles in a ride hailing service, we will gain valuable experience which we will be able to use for future vehicles.”
Christoph Weigler, General Manager Uber DACH, added: “We are pleased to have gained Volkswagen, one of the world’s leading drivers for e-mobility, as a partner for our intermediation platform. Electric vehicles from Volkswagen are a perfect match for our sustainable “Uber Green” concept. This cooperation offers our hire car partners an economically attractive possibility of switching to zero-emission drive systems at short notice. In addition, our experience shows that people are considerably more open to the topic of e-mobility after their first ride in an all-electric vehicle.”
As a part of its e-offensive, the Volkswagen brand aims to offer electric cars in all of its major vehicle segments by 2022. Volkswagen hopes to become the world market leader in e-mobility during the coming years and is set to invest US$38.4bn group-wide by 2024, of which 11 billion will be invested in the Volkswagen brand alone. By 2025, Volkswagen itself aims to produce 1.5 million e-cars.
The news follows Uber’s announcement in September that it plans to evolve into a zero-emission mobility platform by 2040, with 100% of the rides offered using zero-emission vehicles, public transport or micro-mobility offerings.
Fluent.ai x BSH: Voice Automating the Assembly Line
Fluent.ai has deployed its voice recognition solutions in one of BSH’s German factories. BSH leads the market in producing connected appliances—its brands include Bosch, Siemens, Gaggenau, NEFF, and Thermador, and with this new partnership, the company intends to cut transition time in its assembly lines.
According to BSH, voice automation will yield 75-100% efficiency gains—but it’s the collaboration between the two companies that stands out. ‘After considering 11 companies for this partnership, we chose Fluent.ai because of their key competitive differentiators’, explained Ion Hauer, Venture Partner at BSH Startup Kitchen.
What Sets Fluent.ai Apart?
After seven years of research, the company developed a wide range of artificial intelligence (AI) software products to help original equipment manufacturers (OEM) expand their services. Three key aspects stood out to BSH, which operates across the world and in unique factory environments.
- Robust noise controls. The system can operate even in loud conditions.
- Low latency. The AI understands commands quickly and accurately.
- Multilingual support. BSH can expand the automation to any of its 50+ country operations.
How Voice Automation Works
Instead of pressing buttons, BSH factory workers will now be able to speak into a headset fitted with Fluent.ai’s voice recognition technology. After uttering a WakeWord, workers can use a command to start assembly line movement. As the technology is hands-free, workers benefit from less physical strain, which will both reduce employee fatigue and boost line production.
‘Implementing Fluent’s technology has already improved efficiencies within our factory, with initial implementation of the solution cutting down the transition time from four seconds to one and a half”, said Markus Maier, Project Lead at the BSH factory. ‘In the long run, the production time savings will be invaluable’.
Future Global Adoption
In the coming years, BSH and Fluent.ai will continue to push for artificial intelligence on factory lines, pursuing efficiency, ergonomics, and a healthy work environment. ‘We started with Fluent.ai on one factory assembly line, moved to three, and [are now] considering rolling the technology out worldwide’, said Maier.
Said Probal Lala, Fluent.ai’s CEO: ‘We are thrilled to be working with BSH, a company at the forefront of innovation. Seeing your solution out in the real world is incredibly rewarding, and we look forward to continuing and growing our collaboration’.